Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius was the first co-emperor of Rome.

He was born in 121 A.D. into a patrician family, which meant he was in a very privileged part of society in Rome. He grew up in a disciplined yet comfortable lifestyle and was offered many times to school at home by tutors.

Aurelius was adopted by Antonius Pius as a requirement from Hadrian. Antonius Pius also adopted Lucius Verus as his heirs. Before Pius died, he granted Lucius and Marcus as his heirs, to be ‘co-emperors’. It was something that was never tried in Rome, but they didn’t see a reason not to try it.

Marcus originally did not want to become emperor, but he dealt with the changes.
He was taught the Stoic Greek philosophy from one of his tutors, which changed his life forever. He applied that philosophy to his reign as emperor, but he had to live in the Imperial Castle.

When Antonius died, Lucius and Marcus were crowned co-emperors. Marcus was named Pontifex Maximus and held the most power of the two. Oddly, this wasn’t a problem between the to emperors.

The Co-Emperors were very popular, and the beginning of their reign was very peaceful. However, a lot of things happened, such as wars breaking out, many destructive earthquakes happened, and the Tiber River was flooded.

Despite these events, Marcus was very controlled and he eventually restored order to the frontier regions. Marcus died in 180, and while a successful emperor, he never was know as a happy man.


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